Full Statute Name:  Code of Alabama. Title 21. Handicapped Persons. Chapter 7. Rights of Blind and Otherwise Physically Disabled Persons. Title 3. Animals. Chapter 1. General Provisions Title 32. Motor Vehicles and Traffic. Chapter 5A. Rules of the Road. Article 10. Pedestrians' Rights and Duties.

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Primary Citation:  Ala.Code 1975 § § 21-7-1 - 10; 3-1-7; § 32-5A-220; § 24-8A-1 - 5 Country of Origin:  United States Last Checked:  January, 2020 Alternate Citation:  AL ST § 21-7-1 - 10; § 3-1-7; § 32-5A-220; § 24-8A-1 - 5 Historical: 
Summary: The following statutes comprise the state's relevant service animal, assistance animal, and guide dog laws.

 

TITLE 3. ANIMALS. CHAPTER 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS.

§ 3-1-7 . Refusal to permit guide dog to accompany blind person into place of public accommodation, etc.

TITLE 21. HANDICAPPED PERSONS. CHAPTER 7. RIGHTS OF BLIND AND OTHERWISE PHYSICALLY DISABLED PERSONS.

§ 21-7-1 . Declaration of policy; definitions.

§ 21-7-2 . Right to full use of streets, sidewalks, public buildings, public facilities, etc.

§ 21-7-3 . Right to use of public accommodations; modifications.

§ 21-7-4 . Right of person with a disability to be accompanied by service animal; liability for damages; violations.

§ 21-7-5 . Notice regarding use of service animals.

§ 21-7-6 . Duty of drivers to pedestrians carrying cane or accompanied by service animal.

§ 21-7-7 . Rights of blind persons not using cane or service animal.

§ 21-7-8 . Employment by state, political subdivisions of state, public schools, etc.

§ 21-7-9 . Right to housing accommodations.

§ 21-7-10 . Annual proclamation of White Cane Safety Day.

Title 24. Housing. Chapter 8A. Alabama Assistance and Service Animal Integrity in Housing Act.

§ 24-8A-1. Short title.

§ 24-8A-2. Definitions.

§ 24-8A-3. Documentation requirements.

§ 24-8A-4. Misrepresentation of entitlement to assistance animal or service animal.

§ 24-8A-5. Misrepresentation of animal as assistance animal or service animal.

TITLE 32. MOTOR VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC. CHAPTER 5A. RULES OF THE ROAD. ARTICLE 10. PEDESTRIAN'S RIGHTS AND DUTIES.

§ 32-5A-220 . Right-of-way to blind persons, guide dogs in training.

 

 TITLE 3. ANIMALS. CHAPTER 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS.

§ 3-1-7. Refusal to permit guide dog to accompany blind person into place of public accommodation, etc.

No owner, lessee, proprietor, manager, superintendent, agent, or employee of any place of public accommodation, amusement or recreation, including, but not limited to, any inn, hotel, restaurant, eating establishment, barbershop, billiard parlor, store, public conveyance, theater, motion-picture house, public educational institution, or elevator shall refuse to permit a guide dog to accompany a blind person entering the place or making use of the accommodations available when the blind person is being led by the guide dog; if the guide dog is wearing a harness; and the blind person presents for inspection credentials issued by an accredited school for training guide dogs or the dog is being trained by a person employed by an accredited school for training guide dogs. Any person who violates this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction shall be fined an amount not to exceed fifty dollars ($50).

(Acts 1967, No. 518, p. 1242; Act 99-698, 2nd Sp. Sess., p. 207, § 1.)

 

TITLE 21. HANDICAPPED PERSONS. CHAPTER 7. RIGHTS OF BLIND AND OTHERWISE PHYSICALLY DISABLED PERSONS.

§ 21-7-1. Declaration of policy; definitions.

(a) It is the policy of this state to encourage and enable the blind, the visually impaired, and the physically disabled to participate fully in the social and economic life of the state and to engage in meaningful employment.

(b) For the purposes of this chapter, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

(1) HANDLER. Includes an individual with a disability and a trainer.

(2) HOUSING ACCOMMODATION. Any real property or portion thereof which is used or occupied, or intended, arranged, or designed to be used or occupied, as the home, residence, or sleeping place of one or more individuals, but does not include any single-family residence, the occupants of which rent, lease, or furnish for compensation not more than one room therein.

(3) INDIVIDUAL WITH A DISABILITY. As defined by 42 U.S.C. § 12102, and further defined as an individual who has a physical or mental impairment, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability, that substantially limits one or more major life activities of the individual.

(4) MAJOR LIFE ACTIVITY. A function such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.

(5) PHYSICAL OR MENTAL IMPAIRMENT. A physiological disorder or condition, disfigurement, or anatomical loss that affects one or more bodily functions, or a mental or psychological disorder that meets one of the diagnostic categories specified in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association, such as an intellectual or developmental disability, organic brain syndrome, traumatic brain injury, post traumatic stress disorder, or mental illness.

(6) PUBLIC ACCOMMODATION. A common carrier, airplane, motor vehicle, railroad train, motor bus, streetcar, boat, or other public conveyance or mode of transportation, a hotel, a timeshare that is a transient public lodging establishment, a lodging place, a place of public accommodation, amusement, or resort, and other places to which the general public is invited, subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law and applicable alike to all individuals. The term does not include air carriers covered by the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986, 49 U.S.C. Section 41705, and by regulations adopted by the United States Department of Transportation to implement that act.

(7) SERVICE ANIMAL. a. As defined by 28 C.F.R. § 35.104, and further defined as an animal that is trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The work done or tasks performed shall be directly related to the disability of the individual and may include, but are not limited to, all of the following: Guiding an individual who is visually impaired or blind; alerting an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing, pulling a wheelchair, assisting with mobility or balance, alerting and protecting an individual who is having a seizure, retrieving objects; alerting an individual to the presence of allergens; providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to an individual with a mobility disability; helping an individual with a psychiatric or neurological disability by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors; reminding an individual with mental illness to take prescribed medications; calming an individual with post traumatic stress disorder during an anxiety attack; and doing other specific work, or performing other special tasks.

b. The term shall include a dog owned, used, or in training by any police or fire department, rescue or first response squad, ambulance corps, or search and rescue organization for the purpose of locating criminals and lost individuals, or detecting illegal substances, explosives, cadavers, accelerants, or school or correctional facility contraband. A service animal may not be a pet. For the purposes of Sections 21-7-3, 21-7-4, and 21-7-5, the term is limited to a dog or a miniature horse. The crime-deterrent effect of the presence of an animal and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship does not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.

(8) TRAINER. Any of the following:

a. An owner with a disability who is actually involved in the training process.

b. An individual who is competent and qualified to train a service animal, has at least one year's experience training animals, and who is actually involved in the training process.

c. An individual having photo identification stating that he or she is an employee, volunteer, agent, or graduate of a school for seeing eye, hearing, service, or guide dogs or an organization generally recognized by agencies involved in the rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities as reputable and competent to provide dogs with training, and who is actually involved in the training process.

(9) TRANSIENT PUBLIC LODGING ESTABLISHMENT. Any unit, group of units, dwelling, building, or group of buildings within a single complex of buildings that is rented to guests more than three times in a calendar year for periods of less than 30 days or one calendar month, whichever is less, or that is advertised or held out to the public as a place regularly rented to guests.

Credits

(Acts 1975, No. 869, p. 1711, § 1; Act 2019-478, § 1.)

 

§ 21-7-2. Right to full use of streets, sidewalks, public buildings, public facilities, etc.

An individual with a disability has the same right as an individual who is not disabled to the full and free use of the streets, highways, sidewalks, walkways, public buildings, public facilities, and other public places.

Credits

(Acts 1975, No. 869, p. 1711, § 2; Act 2019-478, § 1.)

 

§ 21-7-3. Right to use of public accommodations; modifications.

(a) An individual with a disability is entitled to full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges in every public accommodation.

(b) A public accommodation shall modify its policies, practices, and procedures to permit the use of a service animal by an individual with a disability.

(c) This chapter does not require a person, firm, business, or corporation, or an agent thereof, to modify or provide a vehicle, premises, facility, or service to a higher degree of accommodation than is required for an individual who is not disabled.

Credits

(Acts 1975, No. 869, p. 1711, § 2; Act 2019-478, § 1.)

 

§ 21-7-4. Right of person with a disability to be accompanied by service animal; liability for damages; violations.

(a) An individual with a disability has the right to be accompanied by a service animal in all areas of a public accommodation, including a public or private school, that the public or customers are normally permitted to occupy.

(b) A service animal shall be under the control of its handler and shall have a harness, collar, leash, or other tether, unless either the handler is unable because his or her disability prevents him or her from the use of a harness, collar, leash, or other tether, or the use of a harness, collar, leash, or other tether would interfere with the safe, effective performance of work or tasks by the service animal, in which case the service animal shall be otherwise under the control of the handler by means of voice control, signals, or other effective means.

(c)(1) The trainer of a service animal, while engaged in the training of the animal, has the same rights and privileges with respect to access to areas of public accommodation and the same liability for damage as is provided for an individual with a disability who is accompanied by a service animal.

(2)a. A dog that is a service animal in training shall wear a harness, collar, leash, cape, or backpack that identifies in writing that the dog is a service animal in training.

b. Other service animals in training shall be identifiable by written identification as a service animal in training.

c. The written identification for a service animal in training shall be visible and legible from a distance of at least 20 feet.

(3) To determine the difference between a service animal in training and a pet, a public accommodation may ask any of the following:

a. If a trainer is an owner trainer with a disability or a qualified trainer with at least one year's experience training animals.

b. For photo identification stating that the trainer is an employee, volunteer, agent, or graduate of a school for seeing eye, hearing, service, or guide dogs or an organization generally recognized by agencies involved in the rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities as reputable and competent to provide dogs with training, and who is actually involved in the training process.

c. What task the animal is being trained to perform, and if the trainer is currently engaged in the training of the animal.

(d) Documentation that the service animal is trained is not a precondition for providing service to an individual accompanied by a service animal.

(1) A public accommodation may not ask about the nature or extent of the disability of an individual.

(2) To determine the difference between a service animal and a pet, a public accommodation may ask if an animal is a service animal required because of a disability and what work or tasks the animal has been trained to perform.

(3) A public accommodation may not impose a deposit or surcharge on a trainer or an individual with a disability as a precondition to permitting a service animal to accompany the individual with a disability, even if a deposit is routinely required for pets.

(e) In the case of a minor with a disability, including a minor diagnosed on the autism spectrum, any aide assigned to assist the minor shall be trained with the service animal in basic commands in order to assist the minor as a team.

(f) An individual with a disability is liable for damage caused by a service animal if it is the regular policy and practice of the public accommodation to charge an individual who is not disabled for damages caused by a pet.

(g) The care or supervision of a service animal is the responsibility of the individual owner of the service animal.

(1) A public accommodation may not be required to provide care or food or a special location for a service animal or assistance with removing animal excrement.

(2) A public accommodation may exclude or remove an animal from the premises, including a service animal, if the animal is out of control and the handler of the animal does not take effective action to control the animal, the animal is not housebroken, or the behavior of the animal poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others.

(3) Allergies and fear of animals are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to an individual with a service animal.

(4) If a service animal is excluded or removed for being a direct threat to others, the public accommodation shall provide the individual with a disability the option of continuing access to the public accommodation without having the service animal on the premises.

(h) A person who knowingly and willfully misrepresents himself or herself, through conduct or verbal or written notice, as using a service animal and being qualified to use a service animal or as a trainer of a service animal is guilty of a Class C misdemeanor, and in addition to any fines and penalties provided by law, shall perform 100 hours of community service for an organization that serves individuals with disabilities, or for another entity or organization, at the discretion of the court, to be completed in not more than six months.

(i) A person convicted of a second or subsequent violation of subsection (h) shall be guilty of a Class B misdemeanor and shall be fined one hundred dollars ($100).

Credits

(Acts 1975, No. 869, p. 1711, § 2; Acts 1982, No. 82-527, p. 877, § 1; Act 99-698, 2nd Sp. Sess., p. 298, § 1; Act 2001-344, p. 446, § 1; Act 2011-578, p. 1251, § 1; Act 2019-478, § 1.)

 

§ 21-7-5. Notice regarding use of service animals.

A conspicuous sign may be posted in a location accessible to public view in a place of public accommodation that contains the following, or substantially similar, language:

“NOTICE: Service animals welcome. It is illegal for a person to misrepresent an animal in that person's possession as a service animal.”

Credits

(Acts 1975, No. 869, p. 1711, § 4; Act 2019-478, § 1)

 

§ 21-7-6. Duty of drivers to pedestrians carrying cane or accompanied by service animal.

(a) The driver of a vehicle approaching a totally or partially blind pedestrian who is carrying a cane predominantly white or metallic in color, with or without a red tip, or using a service animal, or an individual employed by an accredited school for training a service animal who provides notice through a sign or other method that he or she is training an animal as a service animal shall take all necessary precautions prescribed by law to avoid injury to the blind pedestrian or the trainer.

(b)(1) A service animal in training that is a dog shall wear a harness, collar, leash, cape, or backpack that identifies in writing that the dog is a service animal in training.

(2) Other service animals in training shall be identifiable by written identification as a service animal in training.

(3) The written identification for a service animal in training shall be visible and legible from a distance of at least 20 feet.

(c) Any driver who fails to take all necessary precautions shall be liable in damages for any injury caused to the pedestrian or the trainer.

Credits

(Acts 1975, No. 869, p. 1711, § 3; Act 99-698, 2nd Sp. Sess., p. 298, § 1; Act 2019-478, § 1.)

 

§ 21-7-7. Rights of blind persons not using cane or service animal.

A totally or partially blind pedestrian not carrying a cane as described in Section 21-7-6 or any totally or partially blind individual not using a service animal in a public accommodation shall have all of the rights and privileges conferred by law upon other individuals, and the failure of a totally or partially blind pedestrian to carry a cane or of a totally or partially blind individual to use a service animal in a public accommodation may not be held to constitute nor be evidence of contributory negligence.

Credits
(Acts 1975, No. 869, p. 1711, § 3; Act 2019-478, § 1.)

 

§ 21-7-8. Employment by state, political subdivisions of state, public schools, etc.

It is the policy of this state that an individual with a disability shall be employed in the state service, the service of the political subdivisions of the state, in the public schools, and in all other employment supported in whole or in part by public funds on the same terms and conditions as an individual who is not disabled, and an employer may not refuse employment to an individual with a disability on the basis of his or her disability alone, unless it is shown that the particular disability prevents the satisfactory performance of the work involved.

Credits

(Acts 1975, No. 869, p. 1711, § 6; Act 2019-478, § 1.)


 

§ 21-7-9. Right to housing accommodations.

(a) An individual with a disability shall be entitled to full and equal access, as are other members of the general public, to any housing accommodation offered for rent, lease, or compensation in this state, subject to the conditions and limitations established by law and applicable alike to all individuals.

(b) Nothing in this section shall require any person renting, leasing, or providing for compensation real property to modify his or her property in any way or provide a higher degree of care for an individual with a disability than for an individual who is not disabled.

(c)(1) An individual with a disability who has a service animal or who obtains a service animal shall be entitled to full and equal access to any housing accommodation as provided for in this section.

(2) An individual with a disability may not be required by the housing accommodation to pay extra compensation for a service animal, but shall be liable for any damage done to the premises or to another person on the premises by the service animal.

(3) A housing accommodation may request proof of compliance with vaccination requirements for a service animal.

(d) This chapter does not limit the rights or remedies of a housing accommodation or an individual with a disability that are granted by state or federal law with regard to other assistance animals.

Credits

(Acts 1975, No. 869, p. 1711, § 7; Act 2019-478, § 1.)

 

§ 21-7-10. Annual proclamation of White Cane Safety Day.

Each year, the Governor shall take suitable public notice of October 15 as White Cane Safety Day. He shall issue a proclamation in which:

(1) He comments upon the significance of the white cane;

(2) He calls upon the citizens of the state to observe the provisions of the White Cane Law and to take precautions necessary to the safety of the disabled;

(3) He reminds the citizens of the state of the policies with respect to the disabled herein declared and urges the citizens to cooperate in giving effect to them; and

(4) He emphasizes the need of the citizens to be aware of the presence of disabled persons in the community and to keep safe and functional for the disabled the streets, highways, sidewalks, walkways, public buildings, public facilities, other public places, places of public accommodation, amusement and resort and other places to which the public is invited, and to offer assistance to disabled persons upon appropriate occasions.

CREDIT(S)

(Acts 1975, No. 869, p. 1711, § 5.)

  

Title 24. Housing. Chapter 8A. Alabama Assistance and Service Animal Integrity in Housing Act.

§ 24-8A-1. Short title.

This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the Alabama Assistance and Service Animal Integrity in Housing Act.

Credits

(Act 2018-235, § 1.)

Effective: June 1, 2018

 

§ 24-8A-2. Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

(1) Assistance animal. An animal, other than a service animal, that qualifies as a reasonable accommodation under the Fair Housing Act, Public Law 90-284, 42 U.S.C. § 3601, et seq., or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Public Law 93-112, 29 U.S.C. § 794. This term includes an emotional support animal when the animal qualifies as a reasonable accommodation.

(2) Disability. A physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities.

(3) Landlord. A person or company that owns, manages, or enforces pet policies in housing subject to the Fair Housing Act or the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

(4) Reliable documentation. Documentation allowed to be requested upon receipt of a request for reasonable accommodation under the Fair Housing Act or Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The term only includes documentation from a medical provider of the person in need of the reasonable accommodation.

(5) Service animal. An animal, other than an assistance animal, that qualifies as a service animal under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The term includes those animals being trained to be a service animal.

Credits

(Act 2018-235, § 2.) 

 

§ 24-8A-3. Documentation requirements.

(a) A landlord who receives a request from a person to make an exception to a policy of the landlord that prohibits animals on the property of the landlord because the person requires the use of an assistance animal may require the person to produce reliable documentation of the following:

(1) A disability, only if the disability is not readily apparent or known to the landlord.

(2) A disability-related need for the animal, only if the disability-related need is not readily apparent or known to the landlord.

(b) All documentation obtained pursuant to this section must be kept confidential in accordance with the Fair Housing Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Credits

(Act 2018-235, § 3.)

 

§ 24-8A-4. Misrepresentation of entitlement to assistance animal or service animal.

(a) A person commits the offense of misrepresentation of entitlement to an assistance animal or service animal if the person intentionally does either of the following:

(1) Misrepresents to another person that a person has a disability or disability-related need for the use of an assistance animal or service animal in housing.

(2) Makes materially false statements for the purpose of obtaining documentation for the use of an assistance animal or service animal in housing.

(b)(1) Upon a first offense, a violation of subsection (a) shall be subject to a civil penalty of five hundred dollars ($500) or treated as a Class C misdemeanor.

(2) Upon a second or subsequent offense, a violation of subsection (a) shall be a Class B misdemeanor.

Credits

(Act 2018-235, § 4.)

 

§ 24-8A-5. Misrepresentation of animal as assistance animal or service animal.

(a) A person commits the offense of misrepresentation of an animal as an assistance animal or service animal if a person intentionally does any of the following:

(1) Creates a document that misrepresents an animal as an assistance animal or service animal for use in housing.

(2) Provides a document to another person falsely stating that an animal is an assistance animal or service animal for use in housing.

(3) Fits an animal, which is not an assistance animal or service animal, with a harness, collar, vest, or sign that the pet is an assistance animal or service animal for use in housing.

(b)(1) Upon a first offense, a violation of subsection (a) shall be subject to a civil penalty of five hundred dollars ($500) or treated as a Class C misdemeanor.

(2) Upon a second or subsequent offense, a violation of subsection (a) shall be a Class B misdemeanor.

Credits

(Act 2018-235, § 5.)

 

TITLE 32. MOTOR VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC. CHAPTER 5A. RULES OF THE ROAD. ARTICLE 10. PEDESTRIAN'S RIGHTS AND DUTIES.

§ 32-5A-220. Right-of-way to blind persons, guide dogs in training.

The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to any blind pedestrian carrying a clearly visible white cane or accompanied by a guide dog, or any person employed by an accredited school for training guide dogs who provides notice through a sign or other method that he or she is training the dog accompanying him or her as a guide dog for the blind.

(Acts 1980, No. 80-434, p. 604, § 5-111; Act 99-698, 2nd Sp. Sess., p. 207, § 1.)

 

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